Posted in personal, random

How to get a US ITIN number if you’re canadian (ie. my 20 steps to getting a certified copy of a canada passport – red tape and bureaucracy in canada (and US))

UPDATE: @Tim has updated that the US no longer allows any notary publics to certify the passport – they need the original certifier, which i guess means Passport Canada is the only option.

So i worked as a program manager at Microsoft last summer and the US government, in accordance with its fiscal policies, “withheld” a lot of my taxes. in order to get them back and to maximize my tax savings, i needed to get vicki (my wife) a US tax payer number (ITIN).

however, to do that, i needed a certified copy of her passport. here is what i did to get it.

  1. searched online to see if i could just go to the passport office – someone did.
  2. phoned the passport office to see if i could. couldn’t.
  3. they gave me a number for “passport information” or something like that in ottawa. called.
  4. was told i’d need a letter, with her DOB, name, etc. and her signature authorizing the copy to be made and sent to our address. the letter would need to be faxed
  5. FAXED?!?!? why is the government still using FAX?!?!
  6. i politely asked for an e-mail.
  7. got a cryptic five letter e-mail address.
  8. wrote the letter. vicki signed it. i sent it into the e-mail address.
  9. bounced back – e-mail address was wrong. (I KNEW IT!!!)
  10. after a few tries, fed up and used freefax to send in the fax
  11. called back to confirm receipt of the e-mail. was confirmed (by the same guy who talked to me – i think they only have one person in that office)
  12. waited three weeks.
  13. received an e-mail from a totally different person in the “government.” told me i would need to go into the nearby passport office
  14. was angry with rage
  15. went into the office – told me i would need a letter. WHAT LETER?!?!
  16. came back with the letter. told me they needed proof from US that i needed a certified copy.
  17. third time’s the charm: i brought back my US taxes and they took her passport. was told TWO WEEKS.
  18. QUESTION: canada – why does it take you two weeks to photocopy a passport and stamp it?
  19. politely asked to rush the process as it had been over a month since I first asked passport canada for this copy.
  20. they got back in less than a week.

See, the main area of concern for me is that the canadian government has so much beaurocratic mumbo jumbo that different people will tell you different things depending on the different days.


And quite frankly, they not only waste MY time, they’re also wasting their OWN time and money – two valuable resources that end up being funded by the taxpayers.

What do you think?